Just about any type of disagreement or dispute can be resolved using mediation or arbitration. Usually the dispute will be resolved more quickly and at a lower cost than through litigation of any type.
Repair and inspection issues, costs for repairs, earnest money disputes, and claims of misrepresentation about the condition of the property, appliances or fixtures are all examples of situations where mediation and arbitration are effective and less expensive.
When are these types of resolution not appropriate?:
If one party is alleging some type of criminal conduct on the part of the other, then these alternative dispute resolution options shouldn't be used. In disputes between REALTORS® or ethical complaints against them by consumers, there are procedures for arbitration in place through NAR that should be used. If the dispute involves very complex issues of legality or property rights, it would probably be better to utilize attorneys and the legal process of litigation.
How long does it take and what's the cost?:
Generally, mediation and arbitration are conducted within a few months of the dispute arising. For mediation, there are usually just a few hours involved in one meeting to achieve mutual agreement or decide that the dispute must escalate. Arbitration can be a bit more lengthy, as the abitrator or panel will want to be sure that all pertinent facts are discovered and understood before making a decision.
The parties usually split the cost and mediation will be charged at the mediator's hourly rate. Arbitration can be charged hourly or on a daily fee basis, almost always resulting in much less cost than litigation.
Can an attorney accompany the principals?:
Any party to a mediation or arbitration proceeding can bring their attorney along. It is frequently not done in the simpler disputes, as it raises the costs, and the parties believe that they can reach agreement on simple issues without representation.
Is arbitration always binding on the parties?:
Arbitration can be either binding or non-binding, as agreed to before proceedings begin. If it is agreed that the decision will be binding, then the decision rendered must be adhered to by the parties.
Also, when the agreement to mediate or arbitrate is part of a real estate contract, then the parties are bound to do so before they can escalate the dispute to litigation.
Mediation and Arbitration Clauses are Good for All Parties:
With all the pressures involved in a real estate transaction, the dollar amounts involved, as well as the possible emotional attachments of sellers to their homes, disputes can happen at any time. This isn't in the thoughts of the principals when they're negotiating a transaction, so it's a good thing to have an agreement in the purchase contract to mediate or arbitrate disputes before other action.
When a consumer believes that a REALTOR® has acted unethically or made errors that caused them damage, the processes in place for arbitration can usually fairly resolve the issues and avoid undue expense on the part of either the consumer or their agent in getting to the resolution.
In any case, there are great burdens on our judicial system from lawsuits for all manner of presumed damages. Whenever the parties can resolve their issues without utilization of the court system, it's better for all.
Bernard WH Jennings
Certified Circuit Civil Mediator #24232R
Phone: 786-486-7217 Fax: 888-735-8349
Certified Loss Mitigation Specialist
United States Department of Housing &
If 2 half-day mediations/arbitrations scheduled, language should be inserted in the a.m. Fee Agmt to say “A Half Day Has Been Reserved For This Mediation (or Arbitration).”
County Circuit/Civil Case No.
This will confirm that you have scheduled a Mediation Conference in the above-described matter at the time and place set forth above. Unless notified in writing of any objection to the following terms, conditions and policies within three (3) days of your receipt of this Agreement, the same shall be deemed to be accepted by all parties and counsel in this case. Credit is extended to counsel only, who are primarily responsible for payment. As a result, counsel are requested to have their clients bring a check to Mediation, or to require their clients to provide sufficient funds by retainer to cover the costs of Mediation.
Brief Summary: Please send a brief summary of your position at least two (2) days before the Mediation.
It may be faxed, e-mailed or delivered to the address listed above.
Hourly Rate: $150.00 per party, per hour, with two parties
$135.00 per party, per hour, with three parties
$130.00 per party, per hour, with four parties
With five or more parties, $500.00 per hour divided
equally by the number of parties
A "party" is defined as one or more persons or entities who have a common interest and who are represented by a single attorney or firm (or lead counsel and local counsel, or insurance defense counsel and independent counsel). If a mediation commences with three or more parties and, before it is concluded, one or more parties leave (because they settle out, reach an impasse, or because the mediation is continued as to them), all parties shall be billed at the applicable multi-party rate indicated above through the time the one or more parties leave and, thereafter, the remaining parties shall be billed at the applicable rate based upon the number of parties then remaining who proceed with the mediation process that day.
Scheduling Cases: Half Day Mediations - 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Complex or multiparty cases may require a whole day. Unless
expressly stated when the Mediation is scheduled, it is presumed that all
mediations commencing before noon are for a whole day.
Cancellation Fees: If scheduled for a half day, a cancellation fee of two hours time will be charged
at the applicable hourly rate if cancelled less than fourteen (14) full calendar
days before the scheduled Mediation date. If scheduled for a whole day, a
cancellation fee of four hours time will be charged at the applicable hourly rate
if cancelled less than fourteen (14) full calendar days before the scheduled
Mediation date. For example, to avoid a cancellation fee, a mediation
scheduled on a Monday (regardless of the start time) must be cancelled by no
later than 5:00 p.m. two Mondays before the date scheduled for the mediation;
a mediation scheduled on a Tuesday (regardless of start time) must be
cancelled by no later than 5:00 p.m. two Tuesdays before the date scheduled
for the mediation, etc. Cancellation fees will be billed to the party or parties
requesting the cancellation. Cancellation fees apply regardless of whether the
mediation being cancelled is, or is to be, rescheduled. However, cancellation
fees will NOT apply if we are able to schedule another mediation or arbitration
in place of the cancelled mediation (i.e., on the date it has been cancelled). If a
mediation is scheduled 14 or fewer days before the scheduled date and is then
cancelled, the cancellation fee will apply if it is cancelled less than 7 full
calendar days before the scheduled date. If a mediation is scheduled 7 or fewer
days before the scheduled date and is then cancelled, no cancellation fee will
Minimum Fees: The minimum fee for a mediation scheduled for a half day in Miami-Dade and Broward County is two hours time, and for a half day scheduled in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties is three hours. The minimum fee for a mediation scheduled for a whole day in Miami-Dade County is four hours time, and for a whole day scheduled in Broward County is five hours. Time is billed in quarter hour increments.
Mediation Time: Full hourly rate.
Travel Time & NO CHARGE for travel time or mileage for Mediations conducted within
Expenses: Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. For Mediations conducted
outside those two counties, there will be a charge for travel time at $175.00
per hour, divided equally by the number of parties. If an overnight stay is necessary, lodging and food will be billed at their actual cost.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted as a form of payment.